Transformational change refers to dynamic adjustments to an organization, resulting from a shift from processes and strategies that have previously been used. All the relevant people in the organization work as a team to ensure changes are smoothly integrated in the organization over a period of time. It requires the internalization of the change by employees, and adjustments made at both individual and organization levels. Transformational change is done to increase the organization’s competitive advantage in an industry.
Individuals in an organization change their attitudes, perceptions and behaviors to adapt to changes. It involves expanding the mindset of the individual and organization and how they operate. According to Harigopal, conditions that lead to transformational change are the experience or anticipation of severe threat to survival and the perceived or felt inadequacy in current organizational strategy, design and functions to meet external threats.
Examples of areas of transformational change within an organization are shifted from being product-driven to being consumer-driven. This requires the organization to switch its way of doing business to concentrate on customers, and ensuring they are satisfied with products, as opposed to producing many products and ensuring the most sales are made. Another example is in changing the structure of the organization to create more divisions. This requires some processes to be split, so that they are taken care of by different units within the organization. Introduction of new products is also a form of transformational change.
Transformation challenges incurred during the change involve people in the process and the leadership. This is because it is hard to predict how people will react to changes, no matter how much they are prepared. Leadership during transformational change is extremely vital, especially in ensuring employees are inspired to change, and encouraging them to adopt new strategies that are being introduced. Some leaders may not be able to inspire and encourage employees directly involved, and to teach them what is expected.
During transformation, especially where a new product is being introduced, employees have to be given information on new processes to make the change easier. Introduction of new features in an existing product also requires the introduction of new processes. Positive leadership during transformation provides organization and members with the ability to achieve the transformation change. Leaders should show by example to their employees, so as to make the transformation change easier.
Another challenge to the implementation of new strategies is the unresponsiveness and/or non-compliance from employees in accepting new processes and strategies (Harigopal, 2006). Some employees may have to be moved to other processes as required for the production of new products. This will require them to learn the new process, which they may not be able to do as easily, and as fast as their previous duties, since they are new. This leads to a delay in the implementation process, as well as general discontent among employees in organization. Participation by employees and other stakeholders in the process will ensure the smooth transition and fast adoption. Communication should be enhanced between all levels, especially during implementation of smooth transition.
Systems targeted during transformation of an organization in the introduction of a new product include the technology used during the production and the automation of the system. The technology used in production is changed to accommodate the new product. The new product will be, according to research, done on customers’ needs before the transformation is implemented. It should ensure the customers’ satisfaction. The system is also automated to produce more products. This will reduce the number of employees required for the production process. Employees will also have to learn how to operate the new automated system. Products will be produced and made available in a timely manner, so that there are no shortages, and all processes go smoothly.
Innovation and creativity are necessary to the growth of an organization, due to current rapid changes in technology and short product life cycles. These affect the profitability of organization among other things. Innovation and creativity will be enhanced among employees by characteristics, such as openness to change, motivation to change and original problem solving by individuals themselves.
According to Shalley and Gilson, the individual is an ultimate source of new ideas, and, therefore, the foundation for the organization’s innovativeness. Creativeness entails finding opportunities for new products or finding new uses for existing equipment and processes within organization. It ensures the continuity of organization in the business world. Leaders can enhance these characteristics by supporting new ideas from employees and their application, if they are practicable. Continuous research should be done to identify new opportunities for organization.
Managers provide support by conducting research and ensuing they keep up with changes in technology and life cycles of products, so that organization maintains its competitive advantage. Leaders, who show support for innovation, empower their employees to encourage creativity even in future (Northhouse, 2001). Having a reward or incentive system for employees who provide innovative ideas also encourages people to be creative. This enhances the internalization of changes by employees which speeds up the transformation process, as they feel like part of the process. According to Northhouse, outstanding leadership provides motivation, openness to ideas and open communication with employees encourages innovation, and is useful even in higher leadership positions, as it will make them more approachable.
Steps in managing transformation change in an organization start from the identification of needs and opportunities of organization, and then assessing all risks involved before implementing the planned change. According to Dunphy, Griffiths and Benn, steps to be followed during the implementation of the experiment are:
- Know where you are now
- Develop the vision of the dream organization
- Identify the gap
- Assess the readiness for change
- Set the scene for action
- Secure the basic compliance
- Move beyond compliance
- Establish the performance criteria for compliance
- Launch and manage the transformational change programme
- Maintain the rage
The first three steps of the implementation process are already taken care of during the research part, where innovations are evaluated to ensure they are going to be reproductive. All risks are considered and the impact assessed. After this, organization is assessed for the readiness to change. This includes the capacity of organization to implement the change required, such as getting equipment and resources ready.
Setting the scene for action involves creating awareness within organization about the change that is about to be implemented (Dunphy, Griffiths and Benn, 2003). It helps employees and people involved to get ready for the project. This stage requires an outstanding leadership to inspire employees on the need for change. A strong case has to be made for the change that is being advocated for, so that they can ensure everyone understands implications.
Securing basic compliance involves complying with legal requirements and legitimate expectations of stakeholders (Dunphy, Griffiths and Benn, 2003). This sets the ground for the implementation of the new project without any law implications. It also ensures all safety requirements are met, so as to ensure employees will be safe during the implementation phase.
Next steps involve assessing the sustainability of the change that is about to be made. Measures are taken to build the capacity of organization in implementing the experiment. This includes buying the equipment necessary in the production of new products and for adding new features into existing products. The employees’ capacity to handle the change is also evaluated and improved, where needed.
This makes organization ready to take the transformation change. It also increases chances of the project becoming successful, and desired outcomes being achieved (Dunphy, Griffiths and Benn, 2003). Communication is vital in all steps to ensure the commitment of employees to the plan. The change programme is then introduced to organization, according to the plan. It is closely monitored to ensure it is adapted according to plan, and to monitor outcomes it brings.
The experiment is necessary for creativity, because it enables a leader to come up with ways to motivate employees to come up with new ideas. It gives an opportunity for employees to generate new ways of doing things, new products, and find opportunities for the growth of organization. This is vital to organization as a whole, because it gives competitive advantage to the company. It enables them to seize new opportunities, before other organizations discover them.
Involving employees in the innovation process makes it easier for them to assimilate the change when it is implemented. It also ensures the process is participative right from the beginning. It also ensures there is an open line of communication between managers and employees. This is extremely useful, even in later stages, as it allows managers to be aware of challenges during the implementation process, and even when the change has been smoothly integrated in organization.
When the research is done before implementing plans that will make a significant change in organization, it reduces chances of failure, and makes the implementation process more efficient. It shows the importance of the collaborative effort in the successful implementation of a project, as well as in leadership.